Sheep Sustainability Framework announces new Steering Group members, new Chair and new Board representatives

Australia's world-first Sheep Sustainability Framework (SSF) has today announced a series of new appointments to its leadership, including Dr Scott Williams as Chair and four new members of the Sustainability Steering Group (SSG).

Three new representatives have also joined the combined Sheep Producers Australia (SPA) and WoolProducers Australia (WPA) Board – joint owners of the SSF.

Established in early 2021, the SSF was created to help industry better understand its opportunities, challenges and impacts in key areas such as environmental health, economic resilience, animal care, and people and community. It presents evidence to stakeholders that Australian sheep meat and wool is produced responsibly, and demonstrates the industry has a clear path towards continual improvement, where needed.

A respected veterinary scientist and R&D manager, Dr Williams' appointment as Chair comes following the resignation of Verity Morgan-Schmidt who has chosen to step away from the role due to growing professional and personal demands.

Dr Williams, who has more than 30 years' experience in animal health, biosecurity, animal welfare, facilitation, strategic planning, corporate governance and the broader agriculture sector, said he was looking forward to building on the important foundational work already completed, to bring an excellent sustainability framework into effect.

"The Sheep Sustainability Framework is a vital initiative for the sheep industry and I sincerely thank Verity, as well as her predecessor Professor Bruce Allworth, for their leadership and the activity they have overseen to help establish and evolve this world-first initiative," Dr Williams said.

"Australian sheep meat and wool have become premium products and our customers and consumers are willing to pay a good price but, in return, they expect all of our 'ducks lined up' when it comes to quality and integrity.

"We can't describe our performance in sustainability without agreeing to what sustainability is and how it is measured, and the SSF gives us a common understanding of the territory and language by which to communicate our credentials.

"I've had a strong interest in sustainability for a long time, and the opportunity to be part of delivering the Sheep Sustainability Framework was too good to pass up."

The four new members of the SSG (listed with relevant skills) are:

  • Belinda Dexter, Finance Manager , Australian Lamb Company – traceability, processing
  • Ed Dunn, Chief Executive Officer, MH Premium - agricultural investment, farm production systems
  • Lachlan Monsbourgh, Head of Sustainable Business Development, Rabobank – sustainable finance, commodity trade
  • Anna Playfair-Hannay, Group Sustainable Animal Welfare Manager, Woolworths - animal welfare, retail, sustainability

They will join three foundation SSG members who will complete the remainder of their two-year term over the next 12 months:

  • Deanna Lush, Managing Director, AgCommunicators and South Australian sheep producer – communication, production
  • Ian McColl, NSW sheep producer – sheep production, supply chain
  • Michael Field, NSW sheep producer and wool grower – sheep and wool production

The three new SSF Board representatives are:

  • Helen Carrigan – Director, WPA and NSW wool producer – sheep and wool production
  • Bonnie Skinner – CEO Sheep Producers Australia – animal science, biosecurity
  • Ben Thomas – Director, SPA and Rural Manager Rabobank – agri-finance, economics

"This is an outstanding group of leaders from across the supply chain to guide the maturation of the SSF, and I am looking forward to working closely with them to contribute to a truly sustainable and prosperous sheep and wool industry," Dr Williams said.

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